The Pope Speaks
about Christian Unity
JESUS IS THE SOURCE OF UNITY
When Christians pray together, the goal of unity seems closer. The long history of Christians marked by many divisions seems to converge once more because it tends towards that Source of its unity, which is Jesus Christ...In the fellowship of prayer Christ is truly present: He prays "in us", "with us", and "for us." (22)
"CHRISTIAN UNITY IS POSSIBLE"
All the sins of the world were gathered up in the saving sacrifice of Christ, including the sins committed against the Church's unity... Even after the many sins which have contributed to our historical divisions, Christian unity is possible, provided that we are humbly conscious of having sinned against unity and are convinced of our need for conversion. (34)
"LOVE FOR THE TRUTH"
Love for the truth is the deepest dimension of any authentic quest for full communion between Christians...This dimension...must be inseparably accompanied by a spirit of charity and humility. (36)
Relations between Christians are not aimed merely at mutual knowledge, common prayer and dialogue. They presuppose and from now on call for every possible form of practical cooperation at all levels: pastoral, cultural and social, as well as that of witnessing to the Gospel message. (40)
EVERYONE CAN CONTRIBUTE
Through prayer the quest for unity, far from being limited to a group of specialists, comes to be shared by all the baptized. Everyone, regardless of their role in the Church or level of education, can make a valuable contribution, in a hidden and profound way. (70)
"A DEEP CHALLENGE"
The seriousness of the commitment to ecumenism presents a deep challenge to the Catholic faithful. The Spirit calls them to make a serious examination of conscience....Each individual must recognize his own faults, confess his sins and place himself in the hands of...Jesus Christ. (82)
DIVISION "IMPEDES THE VERY WORK OF CHRIST"
It is obvious that the lack of unity among Christians contradicts the Truth which Christians have the mission to spread and, consequently, it gravely damages their witness...The division among Christians is a serious reality which impedes the work of Christ. "DO EVERYTHING POSSIBLE"
All the faithful are asked by the Spirit of God to do everything possible to strengthen the bonds of communion between all Christians and to increase co-operation between Christ's followers: "Concern for restoring unity pertains to the whole Church, faithful and clergy alike. It extends to everyone according to the potential of each." (Vatican II) ( 101 )
"PRAYER MUST OCCUPY THE FIRST PLACE"
As the Church turns her gaze to the new millennium, she asks the Spirit for the grace to strengthen her own unity and to make it grow towards full communion with other Christians...In this journey which we are undertaking with other Christians towards the new millennium prayer must occupy the first place. (102)
(Source: Encyclical, Ut Unum Sint, Issued May 1995.) © 1997 Presentation Ministries. Used by permission.
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